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Spanish Language Personas Inform the Development of Healthcare Websites

About the Talk

October 17, 2014 11:25 AM

Washington, DC

Washington, DC

The recent rollout of healthcare exchange websites in Spanish at the federal and state level illustrates the complexities that arise when developing healthcare websites for Latinos. Many articles have been written about the translation issues with the Affordable Care Act website,; however the low enrollment rates in states with large Latino populations (e.g., California, Florida, Texas) suggest there are also cultural messaging issues that need to be addressed. For example, while advertising that “no one can be denied coverage” because of a pre-existing condition may resonate across the US, the concept of being denied coverage is unfamiliar to Latinos that have not had any experience with health insurance. Similarly, heavy promotion of the Covered California enrollment website did not increase enrollment because it lacked a personal approach. For Latinos, healthcare is considered a personal matter that requires in-person attention. Not reflecting cultural values and linguistic practices in healthcare websites for Spanish-speaking audiences has left Latinos behind.

In order to successfully reach and connect with Latino users who seek healthcare services or information, it is important to conduct iterative testing throughout the development lifecycle and include those users in the process. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has conducted extensive research to identify the user needs of Spanish-speaking communities that have been affected by cancer, including the development of culturally appropriate personas that represent these users. In this talk, we will describe some of the efforts the NCI has made towards developing a comprehensive understanding of how to design and implement cancer information websites in Spanish. Research findings have led to the creation of Spanish-speaker personas that have provided the NCI a detailed understanding of the cultural values and linguistic practices that influence how typical users think, behave, and act, and how they use health-related websites.

Main points include:

Issues with healthcare websites, specifically for Latinos Differences in Eastern and Western cultures that are often overlooked Incorporating monolingual and bilingual language practices How to avoid some of these pitfalls and ensure Spanish-speaking users are taken into account Details about how to create personas, including gaining stakeholder feedback and buy-in.

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